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What You Need To Know About The Facebook News Service

What You Need To Know About The Facebook News Service

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) on Friday began testing its new Facebook News project, aimed at better curating what readers see on the platform in a move to address criticism it has allowed misinformation to take over much of the American reading diet.

Facebook and other social media platforms have been blamed for allowing foreign interference in elections, spreading outright falsehoods and amplifying extreme views, as well as delivering annoying clickbait.

The move also could be an important financial one for some publishers, who have watched the news industry decline in recent decades, but will be paid by Facebook to provide their news for the project.

What Readers Need to Know

Facebook News started on Friday, but with a limited test audience of 200,000 users.

Algorithms will be used, but a team of journalists will choose “Today’s Stories,” a regular menu of main news. The stories will be personalized, based on what readers tend to read, share and follow.

Facebook will also cull stories by popular topic, including business, entertainment, health, tech and sports, a selection based on a survey about what topics people said they most wanted in their feed.

The Today’s Stories team of journalists will also look to find and promote original reporting rather than rewritten stories — something algorithms aren't always good at doing.

See Also: Facebook's Zuckerberg Fails To Ease Lawmaker Concerns With Congressional Testimony

What Publishing Companies Need to Know

Facebook will specifically choose participating publications, which will have to follow certain guidelines.

“These include a range of integrity signals in determining product eligibility, including misinformation — as identified based on third-party fact checkers — community standards violations (e.g., hate speech), clickbait, engagement bait and others,” the company said Friday.

Facebook will pay licensing fees to news publishers, but hasn’t disclosed the financial terms.

The Wall Street Journal reported that payments were expected to be based in part on the size of the publisher, with larger publications commanding higher fees.

What Sources Are Included

WSJ has reported that its parent company, News Corp (NASDAQ: NWSA) will be a provider of news in the product. That will include, in addition to WSJ, the New York Post, MarketWatch and Barron's.

Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA)'s NBCUniversal unit, which includes CNBC, will also be part of the menu of publishers.

Facebook said it will include publications from several large metro areas, including New York, Chicago, Washington, Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Other sources reportedly will include BuzzFeed, Fox Corp (NASDAQ: FOXA)'s Fox News and Bloomberg.


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